Stories about government

Our greatest sin: Letting our founder die in vain

The shape taken by Pakistani politics over the past few decades serves as an indication of the coming times. I have no qualms about the fact that the young heirs of the political families, currently in the phase of growth, will be the ones forming the government in the future. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan were among the most prominent politicians of their time but they cannot be viewed in the same light as the conventional Pakistani politicians. Even comparing them to their successors or the present day political elites makes them sound like a species of some kind that did ...

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Is it really possible to revive government-owned and managed airlines like PIA and Air India?

Both Indian and Pakistani successive governments seem to have been stuck in the same situation. Operating a government-owned airline profitably in a deregulated air transport environment is an unachievable target. Had this been possible, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France or, for that matter, all airlines in Europe, North/South America, Africa, Far East, and Australia would not have been privatised, following deregulation in 1978. The simple explanation is that government-owned entities cannot compete with private ones, in terms of price and quality, in a highly competitive market. Gone are the days when national airlines used to be protected from competition, not only ...

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Bhutto was neither a total villain nor a complete Messiah

I remember going through Stanley Wolpert’s book called ‘Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan: His Life & Times’ on this enigmatic politician. The first sentence more or less defines Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s legacy. Wolpert, while researching his book on Muhammad Ali Jinnah wrote that, during his stay in Pakistan, he found out that people either hated or loved Bhutto. He also wondered about the amazing contradictions in the personality of this remarkable politician. Today, as we stand in 2017 and look back into the strange chequered history of this country, no discussion on politics, culture, economic and social ideology, military and ...

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Why has Pakistan not had a census in 18 years?

Now that the country will have a census after 18 years, doubts are already being expressed about the accuracy of the data that will be collected. Farooq Sattar, MNA and former Karachi mayor, says that the census should not be influenced by the landlords as the census commission is very close to the landlords and there should be no injustice with the people living in Sindh’s urban areas. Mir Hasil Bizenjo, the chief of the National Party and the incumbent federal minister for ports and shipping, has said that the census should be put off in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) till the four million Afghan refugees return to Afghanistan ...

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IDEAS 2016: For the elite, by the elite

Like every year, a proud tradition has come about again; one where government officials and army generals hold highly sophisticated weapons in their hands and pretend to target invisible enemies – so the foreign dignitaries they are trying to entertain are impressed enough to purchase the firearm in question for big bucks – because, well, these steel toys do not come cheap. The place is flocked by bureaucrats, generals and a whole lot of politicians in one place having a good time and appreciating the deadliest weapons produced by a third world country. Although this is seen every year under the name of International Defence Exhibition ...

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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the reason the state of education in Pakistan is so bad

I recently came across an Urdu newspaper in which the date was stated to be October 32, 2016. Apparently the editor didn’t know that October has only 31 days, and it can’t ever have 32 days, not even if Imran Khan wants it and threatens to lock down the whole world if it is not done. Teachers of English in our schools are not qualified to teach, which is why most Pakistanis routinely add an apostrophe before an “s” even when it is not required. Education standards have deteriorated drastically. I usually come across such phrases as “his” husband or ...

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Indirect taxation is a regressive move affecting the poor – make FBR independent instead

Taxes are what make governments work and allow other functions to operate smoothly. It maintains the country’s infrastructure, funds government operations, facilities and the logistics involved in running a country. All across the world, governments’ levy taxes from its citizens to generate revenue to run their affairs and benefit their subjects in ways untold. Taxes are the price paid by civilised societies for the opportunity to remain civilised. Being the lifeblood of governments, there is no concept of governance and socio-economic development without taxes. Paying taxes is our civic duty, along with a requirement of the law and its non-payment is backed by sanctions. Is ...

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An open letter to Indians

Dear Indians, As someone whose recent family history is very much a consequence of partition, I am no stranger to the divisiveness of Pak-India politics. Despite a shared history and culture, we stand today as two nuclear armed nations that have fought three wars against each other. Hatred for the other is fostered in both countries – neither India nor Pakistan is innocent as far as propagating hyper-nationalist aggression is concerned, but this time around, it feels slightly different. This time around, your government, sections of your media, and sections of your civil society (in concert with the government) are behaving in an exceptionally immature and dangerous manner. They ...

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This Independence Day, it is time to let go of Quaid’s 14 points

In 1929, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave the Muslims of India his 14 points, in response to the Nehru Report which was published in 1928 as a memorandum outlining a proposed new dominion status constitution for India. These 14 points became the cornerstone of all our SSC and HSC Pakistan Studies examinations in post-independence Pakistan and every youngster to date has read and memorised these points. However, I have always wondered why learning these points were so imperative. Are they still valid today? Surely not. They were a rebuttal to the Nehru Report, outlining what Muslims of India demanded from ...

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Last Friday, August 5th, was Kashmir’s Bloody Friday

August 9, 2016: Breaking his 32-day long silence on Kashmir, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has made a statement which is full of empty political rhetoric, and lacks enough substance to address the real issue concerning the political aspiration of Kashmiris. “It is said that boys who should be holding laptops, cricket bats have been handed stones in their hands,” Modi said while addressing a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur district. This irresponsible and juvenile statement stereotyped Kashmiris as gullible and naïve people who are ready to pick up a stone at someone’s behest. “Every Indian loves Kashmir. The freedom that every Indian has also ...

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